Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Chupe de Mani! - An Essential Flavor of Ecuador

Chupe de Mani! A puréed peanut soup that is incredible! In the mix are peanuts, potatoes, tomatoes, red bell pepper and a hint of heat! The topper is a chop of toasted peanuts and a touch of cilantro. The question is, "If you were to go to Ecuador and didn't try it, were you ever really in Ecuador?" 

To avoid missing the best when traveling the Latin World get "HotList South America" which emphasizes sites, culture, food and drink that define essence of place! In the writing stages presently but will soon be available - HotList; an essential addendum to your travel guide of choice. 


 Now available - "Salsa!The Sauces of South America." Just $3.99 at Amazon.com!

Photo credit: Mick Huerta
Cover design: Rocio Laura
 
Copyright © Mick Huerta 2014. All Rights Reserved. 
mickhuerta@gmail.com
All Accordin' - Travel, Culture, Food, Wine!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Facing the Pacific and a Tsunami Warning!

Taking up residence facing the Pacific during a Tsunami Warning is by most standards a little foolish. Yet speaking with a friend Fernando Jauregui, who lives in Chile; he matter-of-factly stated the ground always shakes a bit in his part of the world. It was his nonchalance that prompted me to carry on with plans for writing a second book while being plied with Chilean wine and seafood.

Daily in the cool of first and last light, I walk the Rio Lluta bird sanctuary just north of the Beach House Inn where I have a cabana with a sea-facing wall of windows making the best of an incredible view. A brisk conversation in a morning breeze with a birder provided much insight; 106 types of birds reported using the sanctuary with 35 rare species counted in that number. He mentioned that this spot is critical for migrating birds as there are few sanctuaries in the Atacama Desert. I've seen this fellow multiple times now, only in the morning and always with a pair of binoculars and notebook. I like chatting with birders. They are caretakers with a keen eye for detail and when approached prove to be a great source of knowledge. We now chat every morning.

As the heat comes on, the marine haze dissipates and birds disappear. It is as well my time to hide in the shadows and produce lines that I then send to my book designer who attempts to make sense of images, stories and travel information provided. I am here a week now. Happy to report, we are making great progress and early results are looking good!

Well, it happened!!! A ripple, an undulation went through the cabana! Whoooaaaa! The floor surged and the walls flapped. Without thinking I picked up my wine glass so as not to spill a drop of the chilled Cousino-Macul Cabernet-Sauvignon Gray I'd been drinking. And a split second later it dawned on me that this was a swell in the mantle, seismic activity! My one word reaction was, "WWOWWWW!" Then back to writing and in another 10 minutes yet another surge! Hahaha! Great! Didn't spill and the sandwich stayed on the plate. Things are just fine... Other guests had left their cabanas and were making sense of things. But they are Chileans and made of steady stuff. With a shrug they all returned to their rooms to avoid the searing Atacama sun... Really nothing for me to do but pour another glass and return to writing as we face the Pacific and a tsunami warning... together.

Now available - "Salsa!The Sauces of South America." Just $3.99 at Amazon.com! Meanwhile, writing continues on - "HotList South America" which emphasizes sites, culture, food and drink that define essence of place; HotList is an essential addendum to your travel guide of choice. 

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2014. All Rights Reserved. 
mickhuerta@gmail.com 
All Accordin' - Travel, Culture, Food, Wine! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Salsa! The Sauces of South America! A Travelogue of South America's Finest Sauces... made easy!


How was this collection put together? Really, it has been a journey of twenty years making my way into South American kitchens and speaking to chefs and cooks. I would ask, "What is the emblematic sauce, the representative sauce of your country?" Then, "Which sauce is your favorite?" Never wanting to miss a thing, I'd rush to scribble the recipe in my aide-mémoire (ever-present notebook) in the language it was given. Later in the hotel; I’d flesh out context, observations and details.

Eventually then I’d translate recipes into English from the Spanish and Portuguese. And with those notes in hand, I’d enter the kitchen with local ingredients to recreate sauces, always looking for the flavor I had enjoyed on the road. Most times the photographs were taken mid-conversation right there in the restaurant yet others were taken at home in La Paz, Bolivia. No special set-up or gear it was simply a matter of taking advantage of our large set of kitchen windows which daily afford ample unfiltered Andean sunshine, and that light lends a luminous quality to the images.

Most certainly these stories come alive when you cook, a face for every sauce. This is what I had wanted to share in the writing of this book; the living human side to culture and kitchen. To make a recipe from “SALSA!” read the cook's story before you begin. I believe it’ll change your end result. Somehow in the making you will open and enjoy a South American world of flavors, traditions and lifestyles. Now that is something to savor.


And finally here it is! And in all it's colorful glory!  

Salsa! The Sauces of South America!: A Travelogue of South America's Finest Sauces... made easy! 

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2014. All Rights Reserved. 
mickhuerta@gmail.com 
All Accordin' - Travel, Culture, Food, Wine! 

 

 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

SALSA! Available in a couple of days, just in time for the equinox!

Honestly, it's amazing and overwhelming  the amount of work and all the challenges you face when writing and publishing a book. Then attempt it from the hinterlands of South America! Daunting! I suppose Life presents the speedbumps and we are to maintain our cool when all the world seems to operate with a "manana" mentality. All the philosophy aside, allow me to say that I loved every minute! Really, every minute!

Available in a couple of days; just in time for the equinox. I like the thought of having an auspicious day for a book launch! Must be the Aztec in me... I'll take a breather from writing as we prepare for the launch party here in La Paz, Bolivia at 3,650m (11,975 feet). Sure to be some Chilean bubbly knocking around, too. In the meantime, we send you our very best from South America!

 Now available - "Salsa!The Sauces of South America." Just $3.99 at Amazon.com! Meanwhile, writing continues on "HotList South America" an essential addendum to your travel guide of choice.

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2014. All Rights Reserved. 
mickhuerta@gmail.com 
All Accordin' - Travel, Culture, Food, Wine! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Torres del Paine National Park - Patagonia, Chile

Conversing with Patagonia guide Tomi Goic amidst the vastness of the snow-capped massif "Cordillera del Paine," this the focus of Torres del Paine National Park…feeling insignificant in landscapes that are all at once immense, desolate and stupefyingly‎ beautiful. 

Now available - "Salsa!The Sauces of South America." Just $3.99 at Amazon.com! Meanwhile, writing continues on "HotList South America" an essential addendum to your travel guide of choice.

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2014. All Rights Reserved. 
mickhuerta@gmail.com 
All Accordin' - Travel, Culture, Food, Wine!  



Conversation: Photo: Mimi Woodbridge
Paine: Photo: Winky UK / Wikimedia Commons

Friday, January 24, 2014

Alacitas! Embattled Festival of Abundance!


Some twist cultural events into saving souls. And today in the battle for souls, some came armed. This is the most Andean fiesta of the year, "Alasitas," the Inca Festival of Plenty! In this clash between ancient tradition and the pastors, christians with bullhorn and pamphlets obviously lacked respect for all else but their own way of thought. Frankly, I never thought fanaticism was christian, moslem or jewish; just intolerent. Happy to report families went on to enjoy the day, regardless!

 


Copyright © Mick Huerta 2014. All Rights Reserved. 
mickhuerta@gmail.com 
 All Accordin' - Travel, Culture, Food, Wine!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Almost there... Salsa! The Sauces of South America!


Really it's not so difficult. I write in the witching hours when fuss is at a minimum and well before the city comes to full din and babble. I find no burden in scribbling to the piercing spotlight of my lonely lamp, wrapped in darkness filled with Songs Without Words by Mendelssohn. Really any voiceless classical piece will do simply because I prefer to commune with my inner voices. It is from these that the writing comes.

I write on the road or at this desk where I share experiences from that endless rhythm of countryside, hotels and restaurants. At altitude, in low lying jungles or facing the sea the roads slip stream together connecting me with the world. I travel rough and fast for days on end and when weary I sleep in a dark room with nice linens and where hot water comes out of the showerhead. 

I've traveled by bus, taxi and sailboat from South America to Mexico. I´ve rattled through 9 of 10 time zones of Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway and voyaged the reverse route (west to east) through the straits of Magellan holding onto the rail, wine glass in the other hand.  With no reservation, I arrive and make arrangements to store my gear. Directly, I move to the market with notebook and camera… it is there I take the pulse of a place. It is said there is no wealth in this world without food production. And in the market you readily see the health of a regions fields and orchards. The strength of commerce in fruit, grain and meats is measured in urgency of clients hungry to buy. It is from there I end up in kitchens. A conversation over ingredients turns into an invitation. It's with the cooks of the world, I feel most at ease. Tasting, discussing local cuisine and a technique or simple trick which makes all the difference; this is what gives me joy. I chronicle life from the kitchens and it's this spark that compels me to write. All of this I find easy.

It is the editing, ISBN numbers, reading copy write law and formatting a book for publishing that makes me anxious. The minutia best left to the professionals is what kills creativity in the self-publishing writer. Instead of working on book two, I am doing what makes me crazy. So sincerely, I believe it’s now time to look for dinner and a good glass of red.

Now available - "Salsa!The Sauces of South America." Just $3.99 at Amazon.com! Meanwhile, writing continues on "HotList South America" an essential addendum to your travel guide of choice.

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2014. All Rights Reserved. 
mickhuerta@gmail.com 
All Accordin' - Travel, Culture, Food, Wine!